This lullaby (The Castle of Dromore - 'Cáislean Droma
Mhor') is one of the oldest extant Irish songs, lulling
a child to sleep with a prayer for safety against the
wild weather and "Clan Eoin's wild Banshee." The song,
Castle Of Dromore is sometimes called October Winds.
There are at least four castles named Castle of Dromore
or Dromore Castle in the counties Down, Kerry, Limerick
and Tyrone. Several discussions on the Internet are
dedicated to pinpoint the geographical location of the
lullaby Castle of Dromore without decisive outcome.
Without solid proof Dromore Castle, in County Tyrone is
taking the lead. Clan Owen in the second verse refers
to the descendants of Eoghan, anglicised in Owen. This
clan once possessed the counties Tyrone, or Tir Eoghan,
and Derry and parts of County Donegal. The presence of
a black water in County Tyrone is circumstantial
evidence as there are dozens of black waters on
Ireland. The banshee point towards a fairy-like vicious
woman originating from or serving Clan Owen (perhaps
some sort of clan ghost).
The words of the song were written by Sir Harold
Boulton to a traditional tune, My Wife is Sick. The
Irish Gaelic words are a translation into Irish of
Boulton's lyric, made by Douglas Hyde. Subsequently a
good few people have assumed (having not read the book
in which the song was published in 1892) that the Irish
words must be older, and a rumour has long circulated
that they are 18th century, which would have surprised
Hyde! The Irish lyrics are from Songs of the Four
Nations, 2nd ed., edited by Harold Boulton (J.B.
Cramer, 1892, 215-220; with music.)
This lullaby contains a typically Irish mixture of
references to both Christian belief and folklore.
Dromore Castle is a house in Templenoe, County Kerry,
Ireland, looking out over the Kenmare River. It was
built in the 1830s for the Mahony family to a
neo-gothic design by Sir Thomas Deane.
Although this work was originally written for Voice &
Celtic Harp, I created this arrangement for Violin,
Viola & Celtic or Concert (Pedal) Harp.